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Can observational learning be effector dependent? In 3 experiments, observers watched a model respond to a 6-item unique sequence in a serial reaction time task. Their sequence knowledge was then compared with that of controls who had performed an unrelated task or observed a model responding to random targets. Observational learning was indicated when the introduction of a new sequence was associated with more reaction time elevation in observers than in controls. The authors found evidence of observational learning only when observers used the finger movement sequence that they observed during training, not when they responded at the same sequence of locations using different digits. Free generation and recognition tests also detected observational learning. These results imply that observational learning can be both explicit and effector dependent.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform

Publication Date





262 - 275


Adult, Analysis of Variance, Female, Fingers, Humans, Imitative Behavior, Male, Motor Skills, Reaction Time, Serial Learning, Transfer (Psychology), Visual Perception